How We Survive

indian polish scottish jewI am the descendent of Pogrom and Holocaust survivors, Jews who came to this country as refugees from a Europe torn up by xenophobic dictators. When people on my father’s side arrived at Ellis Island, the United States was their safe space, their beacon, their golden land of opportunities. Until this week, I’d never shed their optimism no matter how much others legitimately complained about America. I knew that many people of color and indigent people never had that glow about this nation. I knew their ancestors did not arrive here with the same triumph. They were dragged here in chains, or already had been here, only to be robbed, tortured, serially murdered. My mother’s people said Sioux Nation members in our line had experienced such horrors. I knew all too well that this country was as founded on blood as it was on hope.

Now I don’t just know this. I feel this. I feel the bloodthirst tapped by Trump. I feel the hatred he is fueling, not creating. I feel the United States’s roots in genocide and slavery. Today I wake not angry, not sad, but sick and terrified. For I am not just a woman. I am a Jewish woman. A bisexual woman. A middle-aged woman. A woman undefined by her relationship to men. A woman who treasures living alone. And each one of these attributes is dangerous in our new regime. I have never felt the precariousness of my life so much as I do today. But I also am a tough fucking broad who is the descendent of other tough fucking broads. For centuries my clan has survived under regimes hostile to its existence. Me not having to look over my shoulder every time I left the house was new to my generation.standing rock

The old ways are back, worse than ever, and they are charged by a new technology that makes tyranny so very easy. So today and through the holidays I will rest and practice radical self-care and compassion. I will strengthen. I will make my lists. I will clean my house, literally and metaphorically. I will call upon the ancestors, some of whom already have been coming through. Then the day after my birthday, the day the unreality king begins his malignant reign, my term will begin as well. I will pick up a hoe and a battleaxe, just like the women in my line always have. I will not just survive. I will fight. Join me. I love you.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy